Tuesday, May 7, 2013

23rd Annual Commencement

Degrees will be conferred upon eight graduates as Greenville Seminary's 23rd Annual Commencement Ceremony is held on May 24. The ceremony will begin at 6 p.m. in the auditorium of The Academy of Arts, adjacent to the seminary campus. Please note the change in time (previously 7 p.m.) The public is invited. A reception will follow in the GPTS Student Commons.

Dr. David B. McWilliams
The commencement address, "The Conquering Word: A Revival Sermon," will be delivered by Dr. David B. McWilliams, senior pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Lakeland, Florida.

Receiving Master of Divinity degrees will be Christopher Cashen, Robert Dykes, Mark Kozak, Jeremy Logan, Michael Myers, and Joshua Sparkman. Master of Arts degrees will be awarded to Caleb Nelson and MargaretLee Wilkins.

The annual Graduation Banquet for graduates and their families and friends is scheduled for the evening of May 23 in the Student Commons.

Christopher Bryan Cashen, M.Div. — Grace Ann and I praise the Lord for bringing us to Greenville Seminary. As a distance student for the first two years, I was able to begin my studies from Virginia but missed the more intimate learning, fellowship, and interaction taking place “on campus.” However, during these last two years, I not only have had the privilege of sitting at the feet of God-fearing men of integrity and wisdom, but we have also experienced and established long-lasting relationships with the staff, faculty, and, importantly, fellow students and their families. Our Lord and Savior has blessed Greenville Seminary, and we pray that He will continue to use it as an instrument in His hand to prepare men and their families for the fields white for harvest.

Robert E. Dykes, M.Div. — Perhaps one may think it a sacrifice to quit his job, say goodbye to his family, and move to the other side of the world to study. To me, however, leaving the United Kingdom to study at Greenville Seminary was a privilege rather than a sacrifice! Should I mention the sterling education, godly and gifted faculty, helpful and caring staff, luxurious building, or warm-hearted seminary family? What about the array of local Reformed churches from which one can choose to join, or the pleasant and affordable environment of Greenville? Surely I ought to mention, at least, that as well as being grounded in the Reformed faith, in having one’s worldview shaped by orthodox theology and presuppositional apologetics, one is most definitely equipped with the tools to exegete Scripture well. But on top of all that one thing sticks out: the privilege to sit at the feet of Dr. Joseph A. Pipa, and to hear him preach and teach about Christ. GPTS is life-changing.

Mark A. Kozak, M.Div. — It was the providence of God that brought me to and got me through Greenville Seminary, made evident in so many ways: employers who allowed me to work part time, then freed me to attend seminary full time, my church (Mt. Calvary) that prayed for and assisted me financially, my pastor's mentoring, even going back to career decisions as a former CPA that brought my wife and me to Upstate South Carolina. The curriculum is well-rounded for ministerial preparation, with a focus on faithfully preaching God's Word. Perhaps the thing I am most thankful for with regard to GPTS is the professors, through whose diligence and patience God has continued to round out my theology to a more fully covenantal understanding of God and His Word. In all this, I say with the Psalmist: "O LORD, how many are your works! In wisdom You have made them all" (Psalm 104:24).

Jeremy Jon Logan, M.Div. — GPTS has all the right ingredients that a Reformed seminary should, a staunch dedication to biblical orthodoxy, an uncompromising commitment to the Westminster Standards, experimental Calvinism, Presbyterianism, and of preparing men to be effective preachers and faithful pastors. May God continue to bless GPTS in years to come as it remains faithful to this end. I thank the Lord for the privilege of being taught by such godly fathers of the faith, for the rich fellowship I've experienced and the relationships I've made with all the faculty, staff, and fellow students at GPTS.

Michael L. Myers, M.Div. — Reflecting upon the four years the Lord has granted me at Greenville Seminary has brought to mind several major themes that have been deeply impressed upon my heart. Through both the instruction and example of the professors here, I leave with heightened zeal for the glory of Christ, a sense of the great privilege and responsibility of serving His Church, deep desire for holiness, and great appreciation for the rich Reformed heritage of which we are a part. I praise the Lord of the harvest for guiding this school and pray that He will continue to use it as a hand-maiden of His Church for the glory of God and benefit of the saints.

Joshua David Sparkman, M.Div. — When the Lord Jesus Christ ascended to the throne in heaven, He gave church officers as ascension gifts to the church. Greenville Seminary understands and teaches the high calling of the elder who shepherds the church under the reign of King Jesus. I praise the Lord for the privilege of having studied with these professors and their seeking to help equip me and my brothers for the high work of serving the Lord in the church. They helped to foster a sharpening in our theology, a brotherly camaraderie, and a sensitive heart for the glory of Christ in the local church. I thank the living and true God for GPTS.

Caleb Theodore Nelson, M.A. — My school is a low-budget, small conservative seminary in a low-budget, small conservative town. That sounds rather equivocal. But I mean every word positively. I came to Greenville aware of how much theology I knew; I leave aware of how little I know. In college, I learned what it means to be an educated person. But here, I have learned to identify myself with a deeply particular tradition of thought in the broader stream of western civilization. Greenville Seminary has given my faith a resting place in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and the Westminster Confession. There is no view from nowhere — but there is a “God’s-eye view.” Oh, to see as He sees, and proclaim it to the nations! 

MargaretLee Wilkins, M.A. — Being a student here at GPTS has been a catalyst for my understanding of covenant theology. Studying these doctrines as a woman under and around kind and godly men has compelled and equipped me to better pray for my session, deacons, and denomination.  I praise our Lord for giving me such a privilege!